The Suspicious Councillors: Monitoring the Local Councillors

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: South Korea

Publishing organisation: The Hankook Ilbo, The Center For Freedom of Information

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-03-21

Language: Korean

Authors: The Hankook Ilbo
Yoon Hyunjong, Kim Yoojin, Oh Junsik, Han Gyumin

The Center For Freedom of Information Open Data Project Members
Kim Bum-il, Bae Moon-hyung, Yang Seung-yeol, Lee Jong-ho, Chae Min, Kim Ye-chan, Shin Hoon-min, Oh Jong-kwan, Lee Jin-jae, Jung Soo-yeon, Choi Hyuk-kyu, Kim Jo-eun, Yoo Seong-sil, Ryu Kang-yoon, Ahn Geun-cheol, Yoon Hyun-jong, Jung Joon-hwan, Park Soo-young, Ahn Ji-seop, Jang Yoon-seok, Cho Seung-hyun.


The Center For Freedom of Information
Founded in 2008, it is a civic organization that aims to realize citizens’ right to know by disclosing and sharing information from government agencies and to increase transparency and accountability in society.

Yoon Hyunjong
He is a journalist of The HANKOOK ILBO, a media company in Seoul. Experiencing data journalism story with a background in investigative reporting, He has worked as a journalist for 10 years in Korea media. He has won the Journalist of the Month award by the Journalists Association of Korea(JAK) three times, and the Korea Data Journalism Awards(KDJA) in 2021

Project description:

The center for Freedom of information, a Surveillence NGO based in South Korea, created a monitoring project and 25 citizens and activists established and disclosed the current state data of local councils across the country. And based on this data, the journalist of Hankookilbo, participating in the project created an interactive article based on the analysis of the concurrent job status of local councilors.

Impact reached:

This project provided citizens with easy-to-understand information for the monitoring of the interests of local council members, who are relatively blind spots in the surveillance area but are the basis of grassroots politics. In addition, it was the first time that basic data of local councillors nation wide was provided in South Korea. This data would be an useful source the media and activists in each region could refer to.

Techniques/technologies used:

Citizens participating in the project collected the information of each local councillors from 226 local council websites, and requested for information through FOIA on concurrent positions and disciplinary details of local councillors. We collected, refine, verify data based on Google spreadsheet. And after the project, Journalists of Hankookilbo investigated and analyzed data for reports and constructed interactive article. We improved the performance and work efficiency of the page by using the Vue front-end library to organize and search the results of the concurrent positions of all 2,978 members by region. For plotting visualization, the chart was created using the D3.js library. Data filters for drawing, sorting, and dynamic animation effects for charts have been implemented.

Context about the project:

I would like to emphasize that the project was carried out based on ‘open data’ in which many citizens and activists collaborated. With the participation of citizens the detailed history and current status of concurrent offices of council members across the country, with different forms and scopes of disclosure, was established as integrated data for the first time. Through the project we could broaden citizens’ understanding of monitoring data and and data driven jounarlism as well. In addition, reporter Yoon Hyeon-jong of the Hankook Ilbo investigative reporting team participated in the project and collaborated to produce results as an investigative report that anyone can easily find the current status of concurrent positions and point out institutional problems in reporting concurrent positions. This can be a good example of collaboration between citizens and the press for data production and data-based reporting.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

This project shows that there are various ways to collaborate not only in analyzing and visualizing data, but also in producing and sharing data. By introducing the meaning of data, the process of creation, and fellow citizens who participated in this process, the data journalism article itself can become a accelerator for participation for open data.

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